Direct Answers – The Lessons We Teach, Age Of Majority

The Lessons We Teach

I am 31. My father has been married to my stepmother for 24 years. For 15 years I've known my dad has had many relationships outside his marriage. My husband and I turned a blind eye until now, but we have children, his
grandchildren.

My father is in an affair of seven years standing. We refused to allow them together around my children, for I find it way too confusing. I would rather not rip their innocence away by telling them their pawpaw is a cheating dog and their poor honey has no idea.

This is getting old. I have no idea how to handle it, and I am exhausted from hiding and lying to everyone, especially my children. This is not a lesson I want them to learn.

~ Jillian

Jillian, with cheaters, the answer is usually a matter of Occam's razor. The simplest answer is best.

First, end the pretense of ignorance by your stepmother. Put it on the table. "Mom, dad is cheating on you again, and he wants to bring the woman he cheats with into my house to visit my children."

Then simply tell the three of them, your mom, your dad and his girlfriend, that you don't want this threesome modeled as a relationship to your children.

Who do children model? The people closest to them. Modeling is not about simply telling your children not to smoke. Modeling is about behavior in every situation: behind the wheel, table manners, cheating, saying please
and thank you, not slamming doors, this is what marriage is.

You don't want your son growing up and saying, Grandpa had a lover while married, why can't I? You don't want your daughter growing up thinking she is not worthy of a faithful husband.

Your father has gotten away with this so long he thinks he is entitled to it, but he is bringing uncertainty, confusion and ethically dubious behavior into your children's lives. Allowing him to bring his girlfriend into your world would say you think it's okay.

You have to confront both of your parents. You couldn't do it as a child. But you can do it now as your children's mom.

This situation can only be resolved at its source. Its source is not your children.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Age Of Majority

My boyfriend and I have an 11 year age gap. He is 38, I am 27. My parents have a problem with this. They are in their 40s and had me when they were teenagers. I was a surprise.

My dad actually told me he wouldn't accept it if we ever got married. We aren't at that point in our relationship yet, but I feel I am shortchanging my boyfriend because I am holding back due to my parents.

We were hesitant to start dating because of our age difference, then we realized it doesn't matter. We have a lot in common and our maturity level is compatible. How do I get my parents to open up to him and give him a chance?

~ Wendi

Wendi, you are an adult woman, not your parents' 17-year-old daughter. If you had done what they did, you would now be married with a 10-year-old child.

What is the main criterion for marriage? Love, or being the same age? If you love him, you move forward. If you don't, then stop dating him. But at 27 your parents are not part of this decision.

Start acting like the adult woman you are. Your parents got to decide where you went to school, what clothes you wore and what time you had to come home. Those times are over.

If they did a good job parenting, they should trust you to make an adult decision. If they didn't do a good job parenting, why should you listen to them now?

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of September 28, 2015

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